Drew Pomeranz (SP) BOS - Pomeranz tiptoed around 12 baserunners during his 6 inning stint Monday, holding the Jays to three runs while picking up his 14th win. The "name" stats and the underlying stats paint different pictures with Pomeranz, as he's 11-1 since mid-May while posting a lower ERA each month since then. His xFIP ERAs, however, have gone in the opposite direction, with April and May in the low-to-mid 3.00's and June-August clocking in between the high-3.00's and high-4.00's. His strand rate has increased significantly and his BABIP has dropped 30 points despite a LD rate that has actually increased, so you'll forgive me for still being a bit uncomfortable with Pomeranz. I know he's ranked as the #20 SP right now, but for me he's more of an SP4. The schedule is reasonably favorable for him down the stretch, with only the Astros clocking in as a legitimate top-12 offense against LHP during his last 6 matchups, so he does obviously still need to be owned and deployed in all formats. However, I wouldn't be averse to looking to deal him this offseason in dynasty formats, and I'd be wary of overvaluing him come spring in redraft leagues.
Greg Bird (1B) NYY - Bird is back after mashing pretty well on his rehab assignment at AAA (298/424/574 in 59 PA, more walks than K's), and he's gone 2-6 with a couple of walks in his first three games back with the Yankees. Joe Girardi is on record as seeing Bird as an everyday player, not a platoon bat, so while Bird may be rested a bit the first few weeks to try and keep him as healthy as possible, he should get "starter's minutes". There's definitely reason to be optimistic here, as in between injuries Bird has looked like a guy that can hit for both average and power, but the sample size is still very much on the small side. I wouldn't mind taking a flyer on him for the stretch run all the way down to leagues of standard (12-team) size, and it's certainly possible that he can be at least a viable CI for 2018 and beyond. Health is a skill though, and for a guy to have played more than 102 games just twice in his first 6 professional seasons is a big red flag on that front....guys don't get healthier as they get older.
Mookie Betts (OF) BOS - Betts walked twice and stole a base Monday, giving him 15 walks for the month as he continues to struggle to find pitches to hit. His swing% is down under 37% this season as pitchers continue to nibble him to death, and the increased BB rate can only help his owners so much. Betts is only hitting 250/323/335 in the second half, as basically everything but the walks have dried up. I think the problem this year has been twofold: the lack of a big power bat hitting behind Betts has allowed pitchers to be much more careful to him than they were last season, and he was quite possibly a bit overvalued. Betts is an excellent contact hitter in a solid lineup that's going to steal 20-25 bases...his AVG struggles this year are at least as much luck-based as skill-based, and I feel comfortable forecasting him for a .280-300 AVG for 2018. The issue here is the power, for me anyway. That total of 31 last season could end up being a career-high for him, barring an age 25 power spike (which is certainly common enough). His avg HR distance and BBS are well below average and slightly above average respectively, a combination that is shared by Brian Dozier, Didi Gregorius, and a whole bunch of guys that don't hit many homers. He's much more of an AVG guy than a power guy if you're talking ceiling. All of this disappointment taken into account, we are still talking about a 24 year old with a solid health record that is at least expected to be a .280/20/20 player hitting in the #3 slot of a solid offense. Despite the struggles, don't sell him low.....just be aware of what he really is likely to be worth.
Andrew Heaney (SP) LAA - All of the ingredients were there for Heaney to have a big outing Monday, and he delivered with 6 innings of 1-run ball against Oakland. He allowed a homer, of course, after allowing 7 in his first two starts, but he struck out 10 men on the night, walking three. Heaney's chase rate was up near 40% in his first two starts despite the difficulties, and the swinging strike% was in line with last year's at 12.5%, so I'm cautiously bullish here, especially with the Rangers and Mariners up twice apiece in September (both teams are bottom-third in OPS against LHP). I'd look to add him in leagues of average depth or greater, although depending on the depth and your risk tolerance I'd skip 1-3 of his remaining starts (vs CLE, maybe @CWS, possibly @TEX).
Welington Castillo (C) BAL - Castillo has really benefited from the second-half job share with Caleb Joseph, hitting 341/380/588 before a 3-4 performance Monday night. His hard contact rate has moved from 35% to 38%, he's walking more, he's striking out far less, and he's still ranked #9 at the position despite all of the pine time. I still think he's a low-end C1 playing half of the time, perhaps even a bit better than low-end in roto formats where the AVG plays up a bit.
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